Lakeland football players lend a hand
For the sixth straight year, a group of Lakeland College football players helped make Lincoln-Erdman Elementary School's Halloween extravaganza a success.
Head coach Kevin Doherty brought about 30 players with him to the Town of Sheboygan on Friday night for the popular event, which has been held at the school for more than a decade and which on Friday drew more than 300 students and guardians.
The Lakeland players ran the many various games and activities and handed out candy and prizes. Prior to Lakeland's involvement, parents had to volunteer for those roles. With the players manning the stations, parents and grandparents were able to enjoy their children.
"In many ways, our players get more out of this than the children do," said Doherty. "They realize the impact they can have by being positive role models in the community.
"A real testament to how much our players enjoy this is that we've got quite a few upperclassmen here tonight. They keep coming back each year, even though it's voluntary."
One of those upperclassmen, senior quarterback Dylan Van Straten, said this is his third year helping out at Lincoln-Erdman.
"It's a really fun experience interacting with the younger kids," he said. "To see the smiles on their faces is satisfying. They look at us like we're the Green Bay Packers."
Added senior wide receiver Chris Jaskulski: "We like to do things like this and make our reputation in the community strong. To be involved in your community is always a good thing."
First-year Lincoln-Erdman principal Amanda Barttelt-Schermetzler smiled as she described some of the players good-naturedly scaring the children "in a friendly way" along the school's LEEF Trail, a short outdoor walking path.
"It's a great way for the Lakeland College players to get involved in the community, and they certainly help us out a great deal," she said. "They're a great asset to us and we are very thankful. They're doing an awesome job relating to the children. They're naturals."
Lakeland history professor authors biography on 60s counterculture icon
Lakeland College Associate Professor of History Rick Dodgson has completed a biography of one of the most significant figures in the 1960s counterculture revolution.
Dodgson's "It's All a Kind of Magic: The Young Ken Kesey" is the first biography of Ken Kesey, counterculture icon and best-selling author of the anti-authoritarian novels "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Sometimes a Great Notion."
"It's All a Kind of Magic" is published by The University of Wisconsin Press and will be available beginning Oct. 22 in hardback and electronic form. It can be purchased online at http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5162.htm or in many bookstores. This is Dodgson's first book.
Dodgson will read from his work on Nov. 12 as part of a book signing event at Boswell Book Company, 2559 N Downer Ave., Milwaukee. The event begins at 7 p.m.
Dodgson's 256-page work reveals a youthful life of brilliance and eccentricity that encompassed wrestling, writing, farming, magic and ventriloquism, CIA-funded experiments with hallucinatory drugs and a notable cast of characters that would come to include Wallace Stegner, Larry McMurtry, Tom Wolfe, Neal Cassady, Timothy Leary, the Grateful Dead and Hunter S. Thompson.
"This time and these people are still relevant today, because the events of the 60s continue to shape modern American culture in fundamental ways," said Dodgson, a member of Lakeland's faculty since 2007. "Much of our culture, our music, our ideas and lifestyles are products of the decade. Even if young people don't realize the connection between EDM raves and Kesey's acid tests, there is a direct link connecting the two."
Based on meticulous research and many interviews with friends and family, Dodgson's biography documents Kesey's early life, from his time growing up in Oregon through his college years, his first drug experiences and the writing of his most famous books. While a graduate student in creative writing at Stanford University in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Kesey worked the night shift at the Menlo Park Veterans Administration Hospital, where he earned extra money taking LSD and other psychedelic drugs for medical studies. Soon he and his bohemian crowd of friends were using the same substances to conduct their own experiments, exploring the frontiers of their minds and testing the boundaries of their society.
"As a historian, I think there's still much to be learned about the 1960s and its long-term impact on our culture," Dodgson said. "As a teacher, I find my students are fascinated by the counterculture – partly because of the sex, drugs and rock and roll – but also because they see the movement was important. Students recognize it as a period where young people had a significant role to play in shaping history and acting on the historical stage."
With the success of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Kesey moved to La Honda, Calif., in the foothills of San Mateo County, creating a scene that Hunter S. Thompson remembered as the "world capital of madness." There, Kesey and his growing band of Merry Prankster friends began hosting psychedelic parties and living a "hippie" lifestyle before anyone knew what that meant. Tom Wolfe's book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" mythologized Kesey's adventures in the 1960s.
Illustrated with rarely seen photographs, "It's All a Kind of Magic" depicts Kesey as a precocious young man brimming with self-confidence and ambition who – through talent, instinct and fearless spectacle – made his life into a performance, a wild magic act that electrified American and world culture.
Dodgson was a graduate student at Ohio University in 1999 when he first traveled to Oregon to meet Kesey and ask him if he would agree to be the subject of his dissertation. With Kesey's approval, Dodgson spent the next few years researching in archives and libraries up and down the West Coast. Along the way, he interviewed many of the people around Kesey during the 60s, including most of the Merry Pranksters, author Tom Wolfe, Woodstock MC Wavy Gravy and famed amateur LSD chemist Owsley "Bear" Stanley III, whose products fueled the Acid Tests and the whole San Francisco hippie psychedelic scene that developed in their wake.
Dodgson was named Lakeland's 2012 winner of the annual Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. He has work extensively on the Lakeland Oral History Project, an effort dedicated to collecting oral histories related to the college.
Before coming to Lakeland, Dodgson was an assistant professor of history at the University of Tennessee-Martin. He also worked as an adjunct professor in history and political science at Ohio University and as an ETD instructor in Ohio's graduate student services.
Dodgson has a bachelor's degree in American studies and social anthropology from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom and a master's in political science theory and a doctorate in history (primary field: 20th Century America) from Ohio University. He has won several academic awards, including a Contemporary History Fellowship, the Elizabeth Baker Peace Fund Award and a Student Enhancement research grant.
He has also presented papers at a number of prestigious academic forums, including the American Historical Association Conference, the Southwest Texas Popular/American Culture Association and the Oral History Association Conference.
He is also a music enthusiast who performs occasionally at local venues. He is also the creator and producer of "Mission to the Stars: A Space Rock Opera."
Fall choir concert to feature challenging pieces
The Lakeland College fall choir concert will offer a variety of music that will not only challenge the singers, but will also entertain the audience. The concert is set for Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Bradley Theatre on Lakeland's main campus.
Admission is free and open to the public.
The concert will mark Lani Knutson's first concert as the visiting instructor of music and director of choral activities. She joined the college last year as an adjunct director, and stayed on this year after the retirement of Professor Janet Herrick. Knutson came to Lakeland after serving as music director for the Milwaukee Montessori School and music director of the Cantare Chorale in South Milwaukee.
The concert will include performances from three Lakeland College choir groups: the Frauenchor (women's chorus), the Concert Choir and the Lakeland Singers.
The Frauenchor will open the concert performing a mix of folk songs, a Renaissance piece and a new work, "I Started Out Signing," by composer Jocelyn Hagen.
This will be the first time the Lakeland Singers, a group that generally performs at churches in the region, is part of the fall concert. They will perform one of the pieces that is part of their church repertoire, as well as an old jazz standard, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."
The concert choir will perform a fast-paced piece by Brazilian composer Ernani Aguiar, two choral standards – "Cantique de Jean Racine" and "Musicks Empire" – a King Singer's arrangement of "You Are the New Day," a minstrel song adapted by Aaron Copland and a song in Swahili entitled "Amani."
Knutson said she the program provides a wide range of music for concert-goers, and some changes for audience members familiar with Lakeland's program. Katie Christensen, a sophomore from Sheboygan, will accompany the Concert Choir, as Knutson wanted to award this spot to a student. The Frauenchor will be accompanied by Associate Professor of Music Arthur Johnson.
In Memoriam – Peter Bemis
Peter Bemis, a member of the Lakeland College Board of Trustees for more than three decades, former chairman of the board and a great friend and supporter of the college, passed away Thursday night. He was 66.
Peter, the president and CEO of the family-owned Bemis Manufacturing Company, became a Lakeland trustee in 1979, and served as board chairman from 1992 to 1998. He was a member and chairman of several board committees over the years, and at the time of his passing he was a member of the board's executive committee and the academic and student affairs committee.
"Our Lakeland College family has lost one of its most insightful and influential leaders," said Stephen Gould, Lakeland College president emeritus and president of Lakeland from 1998-2012. "Peter Bemis' enthusiasm for Lakeland's mission was infectious. During his 34 years of service as a trustee, he advised and counseled three of the college's presidents and played a decisive role in virtually all the initiatives that have made Lakeland College the vital and robust institution it is today."
Peter served on Lakeland's Decade 2000 Task Force, the college's Design for Tomorrow campaign and was a past chair of the community campaign for the annual fund.
Peter and his wife, Susan, were significant financial supporters of the college. In 2008, he funded the construction of a school in Malawi, Africa, to benefit Lakeland's Malawi Teacher Education Program. He was also instrumental in creating the F.K. "Pete" Bemis Senior Endowed Professorship in Business Administration, which honors his father. The position is currently held by Abe Qastin.
The family has close ties to the college. His son, Peter, is a 2012 Lakeland graduate; his daughter-in-law, Nena Jakovac, earned a bachelor's degree in 2006 and a master of arts in counseling in 2009; and his step-daughter, Aleah Altman, is a 2013 graduate.
Interim President Dan Eck said, "On behalf of the college, I extend our thoughts and prayers to the Bemis family. We mourn Peter's passing, but will always be grateful for everything he did for the college."
Band director makes debut with traditional Americana program
The Lakeland College band offered a traditional Americana program last Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the annual Fall Band Concert.
Under the new direction of director Christopher Werner, the program included John Philip Sousa's "Hands Across the Sea" march, William Schuman's "Chester" Overture, "October" by Eric Whitacre, Rover Jager's "Esprit de Corps" and the Lakeland College alma mater and fight song.
Werner said he wanted to bring together themes from his background and that each piece represented something significant.
Sousa, one of the early directors of the U.S. Marine Band, is known throughout America as "The March King," and his march, "Hands Across the Sea," is a not-often-heard gem in the band repertoire.
"This piece was in scripted with the subtitle: ‘A sudden thought strikes me; let us swear eternal friendship,' and from this I take a smile and acknowledgement of the new friends I've made here and their helpfulness in my transition to Lakeland," Werner said.
William Schuman's "Chester" is a full overture based on the Revolutionary War hymn by William Billings of the same name. Originally conceived for orchestra as a three-movement suite, the final movement, "Chester", got a band makeover in Wednesday night's version, which was a stable of the band repertoire.
Werner also had direct ties to Whitacre's "October." It was written for a group of high schools and universities in Nebraska just before he arrived there to work on his doctorate. Headed by Brian Anderson, the band director at Freemont High School, the work has become an instant classic in the world of concert band.
"To me, this piece tied in the entire program…friendship, education, time, sentiment," Werner said. "The title works chronologically, the themes work musically, it fit for homecoming and our band played the heck out of it."
Prior to coming to Lakeland, Werner spent eight years as instrumental music teacher and music department chair at la Crosse Central High School He was conductor of the Central Wind Ensemble, pep band, Grand Central Station Show Band, instructor of music theory, and he team-taught the Red Raider Marching Band.
He is president for the National Band Association-Wisconsin Chapter. He has twice been awarded the "Citation of Excellence" by the National Band Association-Wisconsin Chapter.
Werner holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from the University of Nebraska. He has the distinction of being the first University of Nebraska DMA recipient of the Wind Conduction degree and also the first Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts F. Pace Woods Scholar in Music. He also holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master of music degree in wind conduction from UW-Milwaukee.
Werner was active in commissioning new works for wind band. His Central bands participated in or organized consortiums with new music by several contemporary composers, and ensembles under his direction appeared at numerous state conventions in Wisconsin and Nebraska.
He is an accomplished clarinetist, serving as assistant principal clarinet for the La Crosse Concert Band, principal/assistant principal clarinet with UW-La Crosse Choral Union and substitute assistant principal clarinet with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.